Manufacturers’ group EEF is putting the focus firmly on growth.
Heckmondwike-based lathes firm 600 UK hosted the launch event for the EEF’s Yorkshire & Humber Growth Forum.
EEF regional director Andy Tuscher said the forum, which is sponsored by Lloyds Bank, had been set up at the request of manufacturers to help connect manufacturers with suppliers and make use of multi-disciplinary expertise available from bodies such as the government’s Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS).
He said “global turbulence” was steering manufacturers towards more localised supply chains.
He said: “EEF research reports that one in six manufacturers have ‘re-shored’ some elements of their supply chain to the UK and we know that there is a desire to increase this figure if we can address key challenges.
“The Growth Forum will reach out to all manufacturers and through EEF’s business support expertise and working with key partners such as UKTI and MAS, will provide a clear and accessible route for growth support and awareness of supply chain opportunity.”
Andy Collier, EEF membership and external affairs manager in the North East, described how EEF’s recent acquisition of Northern Defence Industries (NDI) would provide SMEs with the skills, knowledge and opportunities they need to be part of current and future supply networks.
Global NDI partners include BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Thales, Pearson Engineering, SAAB and Boeing.
Bob Ruddlestone, of UK Steel – a division of EEF – invited the Forum to connect with the reformed Special Metals Forum, which would connect members to supply chain opportunities across Yorkshire and the Humber in nuclear, wind and wave power, oil and gas, subsea, defence and leisure sectors.
Christian Warden, EEF skills programme director, outlined how EEF is shaping skills policy to put employers in the driving seat.
Guidance on funding for growth was provided by John Harrison, Lloyds Bank Senior Manager for SME Banking in South Yorkshire.
Forum members heard that 600 UK was already reaping the benefits of a more localised supply chain after reshoring much of its activities.
600 UK managing director Mike Berry said the firm had increased its UK-based manufacturing from 35% to 70% – assisted by supply chain significantly sourced from the North of England.
He said: “We are driven by quality and feel the benefits of re-shoring across the breadth of the business.
“Re-shoring has positively impacted on our lead times, customer responsiveness, flexibility in design and production and the skills development of our people. Businesses have much to gain from participating in the Manufacturing Growth Forum and I wish it every success.”